Like just about every other task with these cars, there is quite a bit of reference material out there from the original factory manual to personal blogs such as the recent work done by Risto on his 65 Convertible in his four part blog series and professional web sites such as Mustang Monthly's top replacement guide. Additionally, there's an amazing compilation of Mustang convertible top replacement information being maintained by an Australian member of the VMF whom goes by the name Dalorzof. I didn't mind donating a few bucks to his cause because he's put so much time into the document and who knows? Maybe if you shoot him an email, he'll do the same for you.
You might be asking yourself why I would even bother when I could just pay somebody about $700 to put one on for me. The answer is the same as always with me... because I love a challenge! (And I'm cheap)
Normally, the task would begin with the removal of the rear window which is accomplished by unzipping the top of the window and unbolting the rear tack strip from the car. In my case, lacking a rear window, the task begins with the removal of the old top and the removal of the old top begins with the removal of the rubber seals. The side seals are attached to the top frame via studs and speed nuts. All are fairly easy to get to and remove just by opening the top to strategic positions to give your hands and tools room to work under the fabric. The front seal is screwed into the header bow (the frontmost bow) with self-tapping screws. The header windlace is removed by either removing the staples or simply peeling it away as a majority of the staples were rusted away. Underneath the windlace, the top fabric is glued to the header bow and once this is peeled away from the bow, the front portion of the top is pretty much off. Each of the two center bows are affixed to the top via listing sleeves. Sleeves through which ribs are inserted and screwed to the bows. Both of these sleeves were ripped away from my top years ago so there was nothing to do to remove the top from these.
The next attachment point of the top is to the fourth, rear, bow. This bow contains a tack strip to which several layer of "stuff" is stapled. The first of this stuff is a rear "wire-on" which unfolds exposing staples that can then be pulled which exposes more staples. Removing these remaining staples frees the top from the rear bow.
Once the top is freed from the rear bow, there are two cables that are threaded through a sleeve in the rear section of the top between two top frame members. The cables can be removed by pulling a plastic plug out of the frame which will release the cable end from the frame. The cables can then be pulled back through their sleeves and their springs can be released from a hook in the rear frame member.
When the cables are released, the only thing holding the top to the car are the rear tack strips which can be unbolted from the rear drain channel of the car allowing the top to be de-stapled from the tack strips.
The old top can then be discarded with an expression of cold contempt or simply mild disgust if the mood should strike you.
|One ugly old top in a "before" pose|
|Yeah, no back curtain and the rear sail panel rotted away awhile ago.|
|These are the speed nuts that hold the side seals onto the frame.|
|These are the screws that hold the front seal to the header bow.|
|The entire top seal after removal. There's a rib inside the front section that was screwed to the header bow.|
|The front windlace to be removed by a good, hard, yank.|
|The top material is glued and stapled to the header bow tack strip.|
|The top removed from the header bow.|
|The business end of the rear cable. That plastic plug pops out.|
|Cable removed from the top fabric.|
|Rear sail panel tack strip to be removed.|
|Staples to be removed from the tack strip.|
|Top sail panel removed from tack strip exposing the rear pad.|
|Rear "wire-on" opened up to expose the staples.|
|Wire-on removed exposing the top staples. When they are removed, the top is free.|
|This is what it looks like without the top. Just the pads and frame now.|
|Distance between front bow and second bow. There's a ridge on the front bow that I'm butting the ruler up to as a reference.|
|Continuing the measurement on back to the third bow.|
|The fourth bow is measured in relation to the rear chrome trim|
|The front of the pads are screwed to the header bow but don't expect them to leave without a fight.|
|More tolerant screws|
|Pull the rear pads first|
|The rear curtain next followed by the side pads.|